See you wherever we land

Silly selfie with Joe

Thinking about Joseph Francis Mckenna.

We met as kids at the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The parish was established in 1875. We attended almost a century later. Joe recalled that when seated in alphabetical order, we Micks formed a pod. He and Tim Rice and I were always buddies hanging out on the “playground” that was a parking lot in front of the church and school where there was nothing to do but stand around and talk. The actual playground with swings and monkey bars back by the graveyard was reserved for younger…

Seven ways to stop beating yourself up on the page

Photo by John Olsson at

“There will be more words written on Twitter in the next two years than contained in all books ever printed.” Christian Rudder, author of Dataclysm: Who We Are

I was doing research for a print magazine story when I stumbled upon the Rudder quote above. My writerly confidence immediately vanished into the ethers like a tweet without a hashtag.

Did the world really need more words? Specifically, did the world need my particular words? Of course not. Bookstores and libraries are filled with more words than can be read in…

Snowscape Photo by Vivian McInerny

Twilight is creeping on. The snow takes on a blue tint. The steepest street, abandoned by sensible drivers and persnickety pedestrians, is crowded now with scores of kids pulling sleds and plastic saucers, all but forgotten in the backs of garages until earlier this morning when they were dusted off and set teetering atop the hill, which looks higher now and much more daring.

Swoosh down. Run up. Then down again. They’ve been at it since the first All Schools Closed announcement, and they are there still as the sky fades to velvet and the streetlights steadily glow brighter.


Photo by Eylem Culculoglu from

I’ve written professionally since just short of forever. As a regional journalist for a daily newspaper, I earned a decent enough living. My articles were regularly reprinted in newspapers nationwide. Reporters did not earn additional money for reprints but the idea that editors I’d never met chose to devote precious pages to something I wrote was compensation of a different sort. I still get a kick when an editor at Medium selects something I wrote.

Sometimes I think I should hold a sign: Will write for validation.

All this is to say, my financial expectations as a writer on Medium…

Image by Vivian McInerny of my old passport

We stood around a plaza in Delhi, India, near a post office or visa office, some sort of public building with space out front where young travelers gathered. The details blur. What remains in razor-sharp focus is how my eighteen-year-old self felt when I saw her; brutally smug.

She was probably in her early thirties an age I dismissed as too old to be wandering aimlessly around Asia like a lost flower child. She wore a long skirt, one of those woodblock print styles sold at street markets in India but also, by the mid-1970s, at every suburban mall. Stacks…

Image by Bill Davenport on

It started with national Talk Like a Pirate Day in September. Jake was all argghs and ahoy mateys which made me laugh. Not that hard but, still, I did laugh. At first.

Then one Wednesday after work, we met for happy hour at this great little pub Jake discovered. I ordered wings. Jake wanted the fish and chips. After the waitress took our order, I leaned across the two-top.

“Babe, I don’t think you should refer to her as a wench. It’s rude.”

“Must be the grog,” he said and raised his beer.



“Just stop. Please.”

My boyfriend…

Women need stilettos like fish need bicycles

Image by John Nyberg for

A funny thing happened on the way to the White House: Stiletto heels!

A bunch of Boomer Zoomers and I were talking about the wonders of the inauguration celebration. The extraordinary young poet Amanda Gorman absolutely wowed us all. Jennifer Lopez sounded powerful. And Lady Gaga inspired at least one woman’s tiny granddaughter to sing a roaring anthem of her own creation while donning voluminous yardage of sparkling pink froufrou.

We celebrated whip-smart lawyer Kamala Harris as Vice President, Dr. Jill Biden as First Lady, and the indomitable Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of…

Image of school & graveyard by Vivian McInerny

Summer crept into the edges of May. The classroom felt stuffy. Decades of dust hid in the spaces between the floorboards. It permeated the clothbound books, older than our parents, shelved on the windowsill in order of reading skill. Sister Romana slipped a finger under the edge of her wimple, damp with sweat.

We wilted like forgotten flowers. Our classroom was in an airless late Victorian building with creaking floors, cracked ceilings, and water fountains that tasted always of rust. We sat at oak desks of the same era with curly-cue wrought iron legs bolted onto long wood rails, connecting…

Whether random firings of neurons or magical messages from the subconscious, dreams talk

Chris H. in

I believe in dreams. Not goal-setting ambitious dreams but the sleeping ones that mix memories and future thoughts not yet fully formed, all together in moving pictures.

Most my dreams are forgotten before I wake. Or dissipate like mist as I’m waking and the more I try to grab hold of them the faster they evaporate.

A few dreams come to me so vivid and visceral and alive that I wake from them unsure of the divide between sleep and waking life. For a few seconds the…

Memories of a journalist covering fashion in a least fashionable town

The DVF paperdolls; image by Vivian McInerny

She was beautiful in a fierce sort of way. Physically arresting, for sure, aristocratic, elegant, toned, and fit, but most beautiful in the aura of absolute confidence she exuded.

Diane von Furstenberg was/is iconic.

She gave the distinct impression she was as comfortable with royalty as she was with the royal pain in the tush that was the regional journalist eagerly standing by with reporters’ notebook and pen in hand.

We met at the home of a friend of hers who’d recently moved to Portland, Oregon. It was a…

Vivian McInerny

Career journalist, essayist, fiction writer, and life-long spirit-quester.

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